Brisbane, Feb 6 (AFP) England scored a thrilling 14-run win over New Zealand today to emerge as shock tri-series finalists and raise hopes of ending their nightmare tour of Australia on a high note.
England, who looked out of the series until their surprise 92-run hammering of Australia on Friday, recovered from a poor start to post 270 for seven before restricting New Zealand to 256 for eight.
Paul Collingwood's century provided the backbone of the England innings before New Zealand failed to capitalise on a Stephen Fleming hundred and blew a run chase they looked to have well in hand.
Liam Plunkett, who conceded eight wides in a disastrous first over in the New Zealand innings, also went from villain to hero when he bounced back to pick up the vital wickets of Peter Fulton, Jacob Oram and Brendon McCullum.
England will face hosts Australia in the best-of-three finals series which starts in Melbourne on Friday.
"Paul Collingwood and Andrew Strauss' partnership was crucial," said England captain Michael Vaughan.
"We've got a bit of fighting spirit in this team again and a week in cricket is a long time as we have shown with the way we've played in the last two games. Full credit to the team and the way they have responded in the last week."
Fleming was shattered by the defeat, which comes just weeks away from the World Cup in the Caribbean.
"We wanted to be here next week and we felt we were starting to play some good cricket," he said.
"It is disappointing to be getting on the plane tomorrow. We kept giving them wickets at crucial times and couldn't get in front of the game.